Your article "New breed of relief workers" [News, Dec. 4] made many good points, particularly the statement by Noam Shpancer that donors suspect "traditional institutions are not as effective and not as benign as we believed them to be," and that of Nelson Gomez that "these people in donation organizations make millions."

While I was looking into how much in salaries the principals of some of the most well-known organizations make -- and how little is going to the intended beneficiaries -- I discovered that the Salvation Army pays its officers the lowest, almost measly salaries. They are among the lowest salaries of all charitable institutions, although the leaders do receive free housing and some other benefits.

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In part because of that discovery, my husband and I decided two years ago to no longer spend money on cards and stamps at Christmas, but instead to donate the equivalent or higher amount of money to the Salvation Army. We then call or email our friends and family members who we don't see over the holidays. We have told them what we are doing, and we find the results more gratifying, while also helping someone else in need.

Barbara Allen-Lieblein, Shelter Island